Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol

Once again, I’m tempted to apologize for my reading taste, but instead I’m just going to say that I like Dan Brown’s books. My favorite is still Angels and Demons (but that’s probably because I bought it at Sundog Books in Seaside and read it on the beach), but The Lost Symbol is one of his best.
Conspiracy theories are fun. It is exciting to think someone went to that much trouble to create meaning where there was none before… sort of like writing a novel. Here Brown creates a greatly tangled web of symbols, conspiracies, secrets and family connections that tie in many of the patriotic beliefs, religious truths, scientific conjectures and pop cultural clichés of our society. The Washington DC setting is fun as well. I like the fact that Langdon was able to escape from the clutches of the CIA using public transportation. I’m ready to return to see if all is really as he describes. I’m sure there will be a Lost Symbol Tour soon.
This is the third Robert Langdon thriller and shares most of the same strengths and weaknesses of the others. You’ve got to read fast so you don’t have time to think about the motivation or twists, because they just won’t hold up. But that’s perfectly o.k., you don’t read Brown for subtle characterizations. The ending was a bit weak, but again, don’t stop to think. It’s too much fun to just get sucked along in the storm. I have to wonder how difficult it will be for Tom Hanks to follow Nicholas Cage in what will more than likely be very similar movies.
In Brown’s previous books, secret societies tended to be evil organizations, here he almost sings a love song to the Masons. In addition, while there is no lack of murder and bloodshed, this book is not quite as perversely violent as the others have been.
Should it be so easy to criticize Brown’s writing style?! . . .so easy!?! What the h---?!: It would be like shooting clichés in a barrel! But Why?! Why? …Why not just enjoy it for what it is—the narrative for a graphic novel you create your own mental illustrations for. Brown’s books have a lot in common with comics—maybe that’s why I like them.
And a note to the patrons, staff, family and friends I came in contact with over the last few days: Sorry I’ve been so grumpy, but I’ve been reading almost non-stop since I got my hands on this book. I promise to get some sleep now. Please be sure to allot sufficient time to finish this book before you start it.

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